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Freddie Vazquez and Zippo Z

Freddie Vazquez and Zippo Z at Summer in the Rockies in July

Freddie Vazquez and Zippo Z

Freddie Vazquez and Zippo Z showing at Kentucky Horse Shows

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Messenger Hill Farm's Freddie Vazquez to Represent Puerto Rico in the Central American and Caribbean Games

Written by: Carrie Wirth
Client: Messenger Hill Farm
Release Date: 2014-11-20

Vazquez and Zippo Z Win 1.30m at ESP Charity Preview

Wellington, FL - November 19, 2014 - Freddie Vazquez will represent his native Puerto Rico in show jumping at the XXII Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico. The Games, which includes many Olympic sports, will feature show jumping team competition on Nov. 26-27 and the   
individual competition on Nov. 29.

Vazquez and his wife Jodi are the owners and head trainers of Messenger Hill Farm, a full-service hunter/jumper facility in the Chicago area. Vazquez began riding in Puerto Rico at the age of 9 and moved to the U.S. when he was15.
Vazquez departs for the Games on Nov. 20 and took the opportunity to compete with Zippo Z over the past weekend at Equestrian Sport Production's Pre Charity Show in Wellington, Florida, where they handily won the 1.30m Open Jumpers in the International Arena on Sunday.
"The very first event at the Games is the 1.30m speed class," Vazquez said of his game plan to prepare his horse for the upcoming international competition. "I rode the first round very tidy and went well within the time allowed. In my jump-off round, I made some nice turns and just let him do his thing - and we won the class. Hopefully we can take the energy down to Veracruz and have a great result at the Games."
Four years ago, Vazquez was the alternate rider when the Games were held in Puerto Rico. This year, he has been named the anchor rider of the team. The Central American and Caribbean Games only accepts two teams from the Caribbean islands. In this Olympic cycle, there were four islands that were interested in competing. The FEI held trials in Wellington at the end of March to determine the two islands' teams that would compete in the Veracruz Games.

"I was part of the team chosen for the qualifying event," Vazquez said. "We actually won the whole event. Zippo was the only horse in the entire competition to go double clear."
Vazquez has had Zippo (by Zandor Z out of Monica) for just over a year and things are coming together for the pair. Vazquez feels he is beginning to understand the 12-year-old Zangersheide stallion.
"It's taken me all of the last year to figure him out and our relationship keeps growing and growing- he just keeps getting better and better," he said. "He has all the scope in the world, and he's incredibly adjustable. He can leave two strides out. He's just super rideable now. I really think he could jump the Olympics- he's got that kind of power."
"He's not a super fast horse across the ground," continued Vazquez. "But we've been working on that, and it is paying off. I feel like our galloping has improved. He's a tremendous horse, and I'm very fortunate to have him."
The Central American and Caribbean Games competition is conducted in an FEI Nations Cup format. The first day is a 1.30m speed class. The second day features two rounds at 1.35m-1.40m, which concludes the team competition, Then, horses and riders have one day off before the individual final, a 1.45m event.
"I feel good, he's always been a very sound horse," Vazquez said. "Knock on wood! In this sport you always need a little bit of luck!"
Vazquez recognizes that he and his team will face some formidable competition at the Games from Team Venezuela with Pablo Barrios, Team Mexico on their home turf and Team Colombia.
"Venezuela shows all over the world and they always put a great team together," said Vazquez. "Pablo Barrios is considered one of the best riders in the world and his teammates are amazing, as well. Mexico always puts a strong team together, and they're going to have the home soil advantage. Another team to watch is Colombia. You never want to rule out Daniel Bluman - he is one of the world's best."
Vazquez shared that his main goal is to have a great experience. Jodi Vazquez is currently running their busy farm in Mettawa, Illinois, but will join him for the competition in Veracruz.
"I'd love a medal for my island, myself and my horse," he said. "Hopefully this will springboard my team or me to the Pan American Games in Canada next July. Like anyone else in the sport at this level, you always have Olympic dreams. I just have to keep knocking at it. I've been dreaming about moments like this since I was 10 years old. I am fortunate to have the resources and an amazing family, wife, staff, grooms and vets. It takes a lot of people to put this together."
Click here to learn more about Messenger Hill Farm or call (847) 573-1100.
Click here to learn more about the Central American and Caribbean Games.


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